ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization is an electronic document that authorizes certain nationalities to travel to the United States without applying for a visa. There are strict criteria and requirements for being eligible to apply for ESTA. It depends on the country of origin, reason for travel, but it only takes 5 minutes to apply and if everything goes well, you can get the online authorization way faster than a visa.
Here’s what you need to know in order to apply for your ESTA visa:
What is ESTA
ESTA, or “Electronic System for Travel Authorization“, is an electronic travel authorization to travel to the USA without a visa. An ESTA visa is sufficient for tourist and business trips, transits and visiting friends or family in the USA. Completing the form takes about 5 minutes, which makes acquiring an ESTA easier and faster than a US visa, and the application costs are lower as well. For an ESTA application, only the online application form has to be filled in.
Who is eligible for ESTA
An ESTA application can be submitted entirely online, so there is no need to visit the U.S. embassy. But, only certain nationalities are eligible for ESTA USA.
You can apply for an ESTA if you have a valid passport from a country which falls under the Visa Waiver Program:
The following travel purposes do meet the requirements of the ESTA:
- Tourism (on holiday to the USA)
- Visiting friends or family
- Visiting clients or suppliers
- Attending business meetings, negotiations or conferences
The following travel purposes do not meet the requirements of the ESTA:
- Entering into service with an American employer
- Following an education in the USA
- Investing in or starting an American company
- Performing journalism-related activities
ESTA is valid for 730 days (2 years) BUT the maximum stay is 90 consecutive days per visit.
From the moment of arrival in the USA, the 90 day maximum staying limit commences. Not just for the stay in the USA; Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean Islands also fall under this umbrella. At the moment of arrival in the USA, a return- or transit ticket must have already been booked.
The traveller must possess a passport that is valid for the entirety of their stay in the USA. If the passport with which the visa or ESTA was applied for expires, the validity of the accompanying ESTA expires as well.
Application Process & Price
Applying for an ESTA can be done via filling an online form. Filling in an ESTA form takes about five minutes per traveller. The delivery time is up to 72 hours. A priority (urgent) application can be submitted where the ESTA is issued in 1 hour.
The cost for ESTA is £29,95 per person. This price is all-included, meaning that consular fees, application costs, and service costs have already been included. There are no additional fees charged, regardless of the chosen payment method.
In order to apply for ESTA, you have to be thoroughly prepared – research well and read more about ESTA, the requirements, validity and process of applying and enjoy your trip to the USA.